by Robbie Sanderson
Just when you thought you were ready to take on the world with this new perspective on forgiveness, you are greeted this day with yet another blog post on the subject. The truth is, there is more to cover. In fact, there is so much more to cover; like, thirty-six more days of this stuff. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this daily reminder.
We discussed briefly on the first day that repentance is a vital step in the forgiveness process. As I stated in the post that day, both repentance and forgiveness go hand-in-hand (like transformation and forgiveness). You can’t have one without the other. Repentance is one of those important first steps in attaining forgiveness. Before we delve into that too much, it is only right that I share the Merriam-Webster definition of repentance. According to them, to repent is to, “1. Turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life. 2. To feel regret or contrition.” Even in our daily lives, forgiveness seems silly if the person doing the “sinning” has not first shown regret or apologized. It does not seem real until there is a noticeable change in heart. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to say that repentance and forgiveness are inseparable.
In the case of our daily lives in Christ, the two are no less inseparable. While, we do have the promise of swift forgiveness when we fall short, it is only after confessing our sins that this is brought about. For example, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” (I Chronicles 7:14 NIV). It is often confused by Christians that in Jesus’ triumph on the cross (and subsequent resurrection) our need to repent of our sins, which Christ died for to begin with, is suddenly no longer necessary. While it is true that nothing can be attained on our own without God’s help, repentance is still just as necessary as ever. It is ready to be willingly bestowed, but we need to let God know that we want it. We have to acknowledge our present sinfulness and our willingness to accept the “amendment of life,” to truly reap in the benefits of this gift. It is oftentimes uncomfortable to dig up the deeper, darker things, but once it is acknowledged and out there, the gravity of God’s wonderful mercy is experienced.
For those of you still wondering what is in store this season and wondering why they chose to take part in this series, I remind you all (and myself) of this to help us further understand all the moving parts of Lent.It is not just another change in the liturgical color.It is about repentance and forgiveness, and truly coming to terms with the two.As a result of the Lenten journey, amendment of life can be attained, more revelations about the nature God can be discovered, and a tremendous amount of peace can be felt.Pray this day for God to help us all come to terms with this nature of His.